He who was delivered up because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification. Romans 4:25
Justification by Faith
God has not permitted sin to go unpunished. Instead, God chose, in Jesus’ sacrifice of atonement, to himself bear the punishment which justice decrees. Thus, he preserves the law.
Faith does not make law irrelevant. Instead it upholds the law by giving it the role God always intended for it, as a revelation to humanity of each person’s need for a righteousness which can only be found through faith.
When God’s promise of an offspring was made to Abraham he was nearly a hundred years old, and his wife Sarah ninety. Abraham faced these facts. But he also took into account the fact of God. He was fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.
The conviction that the God who raised Jesus from the dead will credit us with righteousness through him — is also the way to forgiveness and a new life.
Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven. And whose sins have been covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account. 4:7, 8
Faith awakens a sense of rejoicing confidence in our acceptance from God. There is peace where fear ruled, there is hope even in difficult circumstances, there is growing awareness of God’s love, communicated by the Holy Spirit.
… We exult in hope of the glory of God… We also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance, and perseverance, proven character, and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us… For while we were still helpless, at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly. 5:2-6
Paul argues that the sins which every individual commits result in the reign of death and the grip of death on mankind. Now, as individuals respond in faith and accept the gift of life offered by Christ, the quality of righteousness will be expressed in their actions and will reflect the transforming grace of God.
Death was the condition of humanity from Adam to Moses, before the law was given. And death continued to be the condition of humanity from Moses to Christ. Law was introduced alongside to magnify the trespass and so to vividly demonstrate the reality of death. Only when men realize that they are truly dead will they be likely to turn to God in search of life!
And the Law came in that the transgression might increase, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. 5:20, 21
Reference: Lawrence O. Richards, Richards’ Complete Bible Handbook
Justification, righteousness – these are big words. Even the idea of God loving us is hard for me to grasp. How do you mean? You mean the way we love each other? But God is so big! we must be microscopic specs to him!
Reading Romans, its explanation of sin, law, death, the righteousness of God, and our need for righteousness, it all makes perfect sense in retrospect. It’s perfect. There’s no other way.
God, in his scheme of things, has solved the problems of humanity at the macro level. But, that’s not where I met him.
I started to seek God not because of my spirituality or intellectual curiosity. It was due to the problems and needs I had. I only see immediate problems right in front of my nose — money worries, relationship problems, health problems of loved ones etc. Then there is the ultimate problem of death, the elephant in the room. The problem I can’t solve but don’t want to accept.
Here I am, so much alive. Still learning and growing towards the completion of me. Hoping, some day, I will get everything right. Then I die. It doesn’t make sense.
In spite of tragedies, the world is filled with so much beauty and wonder. And I see that I am made wonderfully with all sorts of potentials. I don’t want to die.
Nooooo! Then, God presents himself right in front of my nose. Let me feed on his words. Let me see who he is, who I am, his actions, and what will happen.
It’s okay to be near-sighted. Okay to be microscopic. He came all the way down to our level, acted right in front of our eyes and tells us that we don’t have to die.
Christ Jesus, whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation… 3:25
My legal problems are taken care of by the best attorney in town who served my sentence. “Embrace it and you can start to live with me from now to eternity.” He tells me.
I hear him say, “It’s okay now.” “Live!”
Then I passed by and saw you kicking about in your blood, and as you lay there in your blood I said to you, “Live!” Ezekiel 16:6